La Liga Week 14 preview: Madrid ‘derbi’ test for Mourinho’s men, Barca face lowly Getafe and Valencia travel to in-form Rayo
Saturday, November 26 (All times UK)
Campo de Fútbol de Vallecas, Madrid
José Ramón Sandoval has a full team to choose from this weekend as his side host Valencia on Saturday. Vallecano are currently 10th in La Liga, eight points behind third placed Los Che who will be high in confidence following their 7-0 mauling of Genk in the Champions League on Wednesday. Valencia’s Victor Ruiz and Vicente Guaita are doubtful for this fixture but Ricardo Costa could be made available for selection after recovering from a hamstring injury.
Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
Jose Mourinho’s side will be confident of maintaining their lead at the top of the league by defeating city rivals Atletico for the seventh consecutive time. Marcelo is back in training and could make a return to the starting XI to face Atletico. However, Alvaro Arbeloa and Kaka will not feature against Gregorio Manzano’s side. Despite the Rojiblancos’ star striker Radamel Falcao’s best efforts to get fit on time for the derby, the Colombian looks unlikely to make the team as he is still suffering with a hamstring injury.
Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, Getafe
Barcelona will be desperate to pick up a win away to Getafe to prevent rivals Real Madrid from getting further ahead at the top of the table. The Catalan giants are in top form at the moment having won four of their last five matches in all competitions. Andres Iniesta is expected to miss the trip to Getafe after picking up a knock in last weekend’s match against Zaragoza. Getafe boss Luis Garcia insists that despite remaining unbeaten in the league after 12 games, Pep Guardiola’s side are not invincible, he told Marca: “We believe we can beat them. Barca are not invincible, they can be defeated. They lose few games, but draw many. They have already drawn with Real Sociedad, Valencia, Sevilla and Athletic this season. Getafe could be another draw, but again, I am convinced we can beat them.”
Sunday, November 27
Benito Villamarín, Sevilla
Real Betis could be without Paraguayan striker Roque Santa Cruz for Sunday’s clash as the former Blackburn Rovers star pulled out of training on Thursday with acute back pain. Mario and Momo are once again available for selection but Jefferson Montero is still out with an ankle injury. Real Sociedad centre-back Inigo Martinez has returned to the team having served his suspension after picking up a red card against Espanyol. Philippe Montanier will have to make do without midfielder Asier Illarramendi who recently had surgery on his knee. Sociedad will be anxious to pick up three points this weekend as they look to haul themselves out of the relegations zone and they will feel rather confident of doing so as they face a Betis side which has picked up one point from the last eight league matches.
Ciutat de Valencia, Valencia
After their nine game unbeaten run came to an abrupt end, Levante have lost three consecutive league matches and will be looking to get back to winning ways with a victory over 14th placed Sporting Gijon. Juanfran Garcia is a major doubt for the upcoming match having pulled out of training with a knee problem whilst midfielder Nabil El Zhar has been withdrawn from the squad having strained a muscle. There is good news for Granotes boss Juan Ignacio Martinez as left-back Asier Del Horno is available for selection once again. Gijon are understood to have Sebastian Eguren, Alberto Rivera and Nacho Cases back in the squad after all three returned from injury. Striker Mate Bilic is understood to be suffering from a muscle injury and is not expected to make the trip south-east.
Estadi Cornellá - El Prat, Barcelona
Mauricio Pochettino has revealed that Javier Marquez, Javi Lopez, Sergio Garcia, Walter Pandiani, Carlos Kameni and Juan Albin are all suffering some form of discomfort ahead of the match against Osasuna, but the Espanyol Coach wants to wait until the last minute before ruling them out of the clash. The Periquitos have slipped down the table in recent weeks after three matches without a win but will be confident of picking themselves up by capitalising on Osasuna’s damaged confidence following the 7-1 mauling at the hands of Real Madrid earlier this month. José Luis Mendilibar will be glad that centre-back Roversio looks to have recovered from a hamstring injury in time to face Espanyol and Marc Bertran will also return to the side
Iberostar Estadi, Palma
Despite having picked up just one victory in the league so far this season, Racing Santander have not fallen far behind the pack but Hector Cuper’s men will want to start racking up victories and climb up the table and they will feel confident of getting a win against Mallorca, who haven’t won in six matches. Mallorca defender Chico picked up a knock against Granada last weekend and is not expected to make the starting XI on Sunday. Racing’s Lautaro Acosta is still suffering from the injury he picked up in September and, although his recovery is going better than expected, he is not expected back until December.
San Mamés, Bilbao
Granada centre-back Diego Mainz has picked up a hamstring injury and will be out of action for at least a month, so Manuel Lucena is expected to be partnered in defence with midfielder Fran Rico. Brazilian left-back Guilherme Siqueira is a doubt for the match as he did not train with the rest of the team on Thursday. Athletic Bilbao are currently on good form and remain unbeaten since September. Javi Martinez was not expected to be fit for the game but he has trained well throughout the week and could make an appearance for Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
La Romareda, Zaragoza
Defender Martin Caceres will not make the trip to Zaragoza as an exam revealed that he tore his hamstring in training on Wednesday. The Uruguayan joins Tom de Mul and Federico Fazio on the Sevilla injury list. Zaragoza have bee